Man sentenced for police chase crash that killed 6-year-old girl in Brooklyn Center

The pursuit of a murder suspect through Brooklyn Center last July led to a crash that killed a six-year-old girl and injured five other member of her family. (FOX 9)

A man suspected of murder who led Brooklyn Center police on a chase last July and then crashed into an SUV, resulting in the death of a 6-year-old girl and a traumatic brain injury for a 15-year-old girl, was sentenced to 21 years in prison on Tuesday after he accepted a plea deal.

Hakeem Waheed Muhammad, 29, pleaded guilty and was convicted on two counts: fleeing a police officer resulting in death and fleeing a police officer resulting in great bodily harm. Two other charges — criminal vehicular operation resulting in great bodily harm and criminal vehicular homicide — were dismissed, and he was given credit for 335 days.

The chase

The fatal chase began on Friday, July 15, 2022, when two Brooklyn Center police officers acting on a tip located Muhammad, who was wanted for second-degree murder, in a dark gray Chevrolet Equinox around 4:20 p.m. They approached the car with their guns drawn and demanded that he put his hands up, according to the criminal complaint.

Muhammad sped away, driving east on 57th Avenue North. Police followed with their sirens on. Other squad cars joined the pursuit, with assistance from a State Patrol helicopter.

The criminal complaint states Muhammad was traveling at approximately 94 mph when he approached the intersection of 53rd Avenue North and Humboldt Avenue North, where he blew through a stop sign. At the intersection, a Ford Edge SUV, carrying a mother and her five children, had just stopped at a stop sign and was proceeding to cross when Muhammad's vehicle crashed into it, causing it to flip over.

Officers got out of their squad cars and rushed to the Ford. They could see children inside the upside-down vehicle and tried to open the back door to reach them, but the door was crushed and pinned in place. They then noticed the 6-year-old girl in the backseat who was not moving, and managed to pull her out a window. They performed CPR on her and then paramedics took her to the hospital, where she later died of her injuries, according to the complaint.

A 15-year-old girl in the vehicle was also taken to the hospital, where she was treated for a traumatic brain injury, internal bleeding, and a bruised liver, the complaint says.

Officers also treated Muhammad at the scene until he was taken to the hospital.

"It was terrible, they were all in their swimsuits. Looked like they were either going to or coming from a beach day, minding their own business and then this guy slams into them," Ryan West, who lives at the intersection where the crash occurred, told FOX 9.

Pending trial

Muhammad’s second-degree murder case is still proceeding in court. In that case, he is accused of accidentally fatally shooting a man as they struggled over a gun on April 7, 2022.

According to the complaint, Muhammad believed the victim was calling him a snitch and had approached him with a gun, before the struggle began.

The trial is set to begin on Oct. 2, 2023.